One night after pulling off a historic 96–86 overtime victory over Princeton, the Yale women’s basketball team went cold against an impenetrable Penn defense and fell 54–48 to the undefeated Ivy League leaders.
The Bulldogs (14–7, 4–2 Ivy) outlasted the Tigers (11–9, 3–2) in a record-setting night that saw point guard Roxy Barahman ’20 pour in a career-high 33 points to go along with seven boards, five steals and four assists. The league’s top scorer went six-for-six from long range, contributing to the Elis’ best three-point shooting night of the season. The team went 10–21 and shot 47.6 percent. Yale’s 96-point total was a school record in its first win at Jadwin since Feb. 13, 2009.
“Our hunger to beat Princeton, the defending Ivy League champs, gave us all a little more fight and confidence,” Barahman said. “I thought Bella Alarie and Gabby Rush hit some really tough shots to send it into OT, especially with us playing very good defense, but we knew that we still had the game.”
An all-around threat, forward Bella Alarie led the way for the Tigers with a game-high 38 points, 13 rebounds, three blocks and six takeaways. Guard Gabrielle Rush dropped in 18 points and five treys of her own in the high-scoring affair in which four Bulldogs also scored more than 12 points. Forward Alexandra Maund ’19 was a dominant presence off the Yale bench once again, tallying a double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds.
“None of [Alarie’s] points came easy,” Barahman said. “She’s obviously a very capable scorer, but we gave her a really tough time. We had different people on her the whole game, and it took her quite a few shot attempts to get there. I think we executed our game plan perfectly.”
Neither team led by more than two points in a seesaw opening quarter, and Barahman’s three with 43 seconds left in the period gave the visitors a 21–18 lead going into the second. The contest featured 11 ties and 10 lead changes, and the Bulldogs did not get comfortable until opening up an eight-point lead off of a 7–2 run halfway through the third quarter. The Elis enjoyed a 74–67 advantage heading into the final period, until Rush’s deep three and Princeton guard Carlie Littlefield cut the lead to two in under a minute. A pair of treys from Alarie and Rush pulled the Tigers even with 11 seconds left in regulation.
“When Princeton made their run, it was because we didn’t value the possession,” head coach Allison Guth said. “We turned it over, and that turned into buckets for them. I was really impressed with the poise coming into the timeout [before overtime].”
In overtime, the Bulldogs overcame their free throw shooting woes to go 10–12 from the charity stripe and outrebounded the Tigers 8–1 to maintain possession for much of the period. Yale has the second-worst free throw percentage in the League, averaging under 63 percent. Guard Tori Andrew ’21 scored five of her 15 points in extra time — all from the free throw line — to put the Tigers away.
Riding a four-game winning streak into the Palestra, the Bulldogs looked to unseat an unbeaten Quaker team led by center Eleah Parker, the League’s fifth-best scorer and leader in rebounding, blocks and field goal percentage. As anticipated, it was all Parker in the opening minutes.
The sophomore outscored the Bulldogs by herself during the first quarter, pouring in 12 points on 6–7 shooting as Penn shot 9–19 and 47.4 percent as a team. Yale could only muster seven points on 27 percent shooting in the first frame. Poor shooting would plague the Bulldogs all game.
“Everybody in the league has to do it with the back-to-back. I believe that games can be won on Friday nights but titles are won on Saturdays. We don’t really have any excuses with how we came out in the first quarter,” Guth said. “I’m proud with the fight in the second quarter, but we walk away thinking about how we put ourselves in that position in the first quarter.”
Down 19–7 going into the second quarter, the Bulldogs’ pack-line defense took over. In foul trouble, Parker was silenced for the next two quarters, and, in the second frame, Yale limited Penn to just 28.6 percent from the field. The Elis found a bit of their rhythm in the third quarter, when they shot just under 42 percent. Down 16 less than a minute into the second half and with Parker benched after her fourth foul, the Bulldogs rallied back to cut the deficit to 41–35 going into the final period.
Neither team shot better than 27 percent in the fourth, but after Barahman’s triple cut the Quakers’ lead to just two points with 26 seconds remaining on the game clock, the Bulldogs were desperate once again for some last second heroics. But this week, the Bulldogs came up short as the Quakers hit five consecutive free throws to hold on to their lead.
As anticipated, the game was a physical battle in the paint. Yale edged the Quakers 46–43 on the boards but were outdone 30–22 in interior points.
“Even with a poor first half, we were able to keep the game close till the very end, so we know we can beat anyone in the league,” Barahman said. “I think the biggest thing for our next matchup will be our eagerness from the tip to battle on the boards and not give up an early scoring run.”
The Bulldogs return to John J. Lee Amphitheater on Friday to face Columbia.
Julianna Lai | firstname.lastname@example.org .